Local filmmaker Bob Phillips presented his debut film ‘Gathering the Graves’.
The story is based on the work of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission and follows the lives of several characters affected by the loss of Evan, a soldier who went missing on the Western Front during World War I.
An introduction was given by Bob. He started with a short talk introducing us to a map with numbers written, 21, 13, 870 etc these represented the number of bodies found after the Great War some 10,000 in an area of not much more than an acre, shocking. The hall descended into silence as Bob explained the reason behind the making of this truly remarkable film, a grandfather, great uncle members of his own family lost, the more he investigated the greater the desire to record events. We followed the young lives of two friends who had seen the Buffalo Bill Cowboy Show when it visited Pembroke Dock, we saw photos of two boys playing cowboys and Indians. These boys, as did so many, saw the War as an adventure and signed up to do their duty, my own tears started as we saw them leave, boarding a train which would take one to his death the other to be a prisoner of war.
The film centred on the commissioning of War Graves, those who had wealth were able to arrange for their loved ones to be brought home for burial others lay where they had fallen for some there were no remains. War Grave Commission headed by Mr Fabian Ware set about finding the bodies buried beneath the killing fields each was given a burial and the grave marked with a simple cross to eventually be replaced by a simple headstone that we now recognise.
Penny Thomas 6th September 2018